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Can Sound Change The Way We Taste?

Dinner Sounds Delicious!

There is the sound of food – sizzling, crunching, smacking. And there is the sound of your food environment – music, conversation, noise. New research suggests that the acoustic atmosphere can affect the taste of your food when you dine.

Restaurants are becoming louder as excited diners crowd into the newest hot spots. If these trendy restaurants are so loud, does it disrupt a dining experience? Or does the noise actually enhance or suppress taste perception? A study conducted by Oxford University investigated whether the ambient sounds heard while dining affect how the mind processes stimuli from our taste buds.

In addition to the Oxford research, a few journals delved into the sound-taste phenomenon. One study suggested that loud restaurant levels, some exceeding 100 decibels, might suppress how we perceive the saltiness or sweetness of foods. Another study found that loud noise actually enhanced certain flavors, including the savory taste of umami found in tomatoes and mushrooms.

This new discipline of studying complex brain processes and the interaction with eating and drinking is called “neurogastronomy” and has only emerged in the last ten years or so. In addition to restaurant noise, the science considers the volume and type of music that can affect the taste process.

While we haven’t heard of Thync users choosing a Vibe to help enjoy dinner, we do have many cases of people using a Calm Vibe to settle anxious feelings before a first date. Maybe that great dinner helped land a second date!

Read more about how sound and music may become an important ingredient to your enjoyment of food here.

Jeff Edwards